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True renewal or window dressing?

On this Sunday, just a brief comment about this announcement by Michael Ignatieff that there would be a renewal committee established by the Liberal party. It’s all well and good to establish a committee to renew the party, but this committee is comprised of the Liberal establishment as well as members of the Liberal caucus. I’ve no doubt they’re all qualified people, but if you want party renewal, shouldn’t you be at least putting on some actual grassroots members of the Liberal Party on this renewal committee – even a token one?

For example, why not appoint a member or 2 of the Young Liberals to this renewal committee?

The announcement says it will make recommendations on reforms based on input from grassroots members. That’s fine, but I’d be more encouraged if this effort had more grassroots representation on it. When you have establishment Liberals on this type of effort, the danger is if the establishment doesn’t like the suggestions brought forth from the grassroots (ie. because they’re viewed as being too “radical”), they may never see the light of day.

For renewal efforts to work, you need to have it coming from the grassroots up, not from the party establishment down, and that’s what I fear this exercise is going to be.

UPDATE @ 5:45 pmAnother new commission announcement!:

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff today announced the creation of the Liberal Party of Canada’s Change Commission, which will be co-chaired by Doug Ferguson, President of the Liberal Party of Canada, The Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Member of Parliament for St. Paul’s, and Brigitte Garceau, President of the Westmount – Ville-Marie Federal Liberal Association. The Change Commission was created by the National Executive of the Liberal Party of Canada with a mandate to consider nine specific questions related to the long term strategic change of the Party. “This process is about listening to the grassroots of our Party,” said Mr. Ignatieff.

If you’re confused about this one and the one I talked about earlier, the renewal committee is apparently focused on making recommendations to the Liberal national executive on constitutional reform, while the Change commission focuses on “long term changes to the Party’s engagement, communications, fundraising, policy, and election-readiness strategies.”

All well and good, but as I alluded to earlier, and as Dan said over at his blog, I hope both of these apparent panels of consultation actually listen to Liberals and take their suggestions seriously, rather then these commissions creations being used to let frustrated Liberals vent, while patting them on the head with and say “there, there, it’s okay, we listened to you, but we know what’s best for the Party”.


6 comments to True renewal or window dressing?

  • slg

    Carolyn Bennett and Ann McLellan were Rae supporters and he’s appointed them to committees.

    Shouldn’t people wait until the announcements are complete before getting all up in arms.

    Curran – stop pouting. It’s not attractive for a grown up man.

  • Scott,

    I’m curious to know how you define “grassroots”. If you are a grassroots Liberal who wins election for a key position, are you no longer “grassroots”, or are you just a successful “grassroots” Liberal. I ask, because I think people like Mike Crawley, Joan Bourassa, Bonnie Crombie and Doug Ferguson are pefect examples of grass roots Liberals.

  • @James Curran – Well James.. I don’t particularly go that far, because with 80% of the caucus supporting Iggy.. that would be difficult to avoid.

  • janfromthe bruce

    Ocean is correct. If one really wants to see the grassroots empowered than the one who actually holds the power, let’s go, and allows for the equal sharing of power.

  • I’ll go one step further. You can only belong to this committee if you supported Michael Ignatieff during this last leadership.

  • I’d liken this to politicos “consulting” Canadians as they travel to town halls, conduct surveys, invite presentations, etc., yet said politicos ultimately are “the deciders” and make the policy.

    No policy on issues affecting group X should be designed without 50 percent of those at the decision or policy-making table being representatives of group X.

    For example, want to design policy to address homelessness? Then the deciders should include at least 50 percent of those who ARE homeless. They are the experts, after all, on what will work, what won’t and why.

    Want to renew the LPC? Then AT LEAST 50 percent of that renewal committee should be representatives of the grassroots and selected by the grassroots.

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